(with apologies to Kipling)
If you could listen and not aim to wrangle—
Remember that to tango it takes two;
If you could see things, sometimes, from my angle,
A little more of me and less of you;
If you had sometimes been a little kinder,
If complimenting hadn’t been so hard
Or when my birthday fell (without reminder)
You’d turned up with both flowers and a card.
If you could mute your urge to godlike glory
And take on board that you have feet of clay;
If you could see that I, too, had a story,
That your attention might have made me stay;
If you had grasped that equal still meant equal
And being top-dog wouldn’t do—Of course,
our earlier lives would have a happy sequel.
But as it is we’re heading for divorce.
“Faint Hopes” first appeared in The Spectator.